When people think of a Financial Wellness definition: “The ability to successfully manage finances” is normally what comes to mind. Or to become financially successful. Whatever that means. Here we will discuss this in that light as well as how it affects our overall happiness and wellness
What Does Financial Wellness Mean?
When discussing the 5 Pillars of Human Wellness (Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Emotional and Financial) many tend to leave out Financial. They see how the others can directly affect us health wise. But it’s not so obvious how our financial wellness affects us. In reality, money, or the lack thereof, plays a critical role in our lives and Financial stress is a real cause of anxiety. In turn stress and anxiety take a toll on our minds and bodies, and our health can suffer.
Financial stress can be caused both by how much or how little money we have and by how we go about making that said money. How we chose to make a living then plays a big part in our overall wellness. Are we doing a job that we like? Or are we just about making a living? Maybe a better definition of Financial Wellness would be: “The ability to successfully manage finances with minimal detriment to our health and happiness.”
How Much is Enough?
This is a loaded question. There have been many studies concerning this. We all know that poverty is not a good place to be at. Stress from li
ving and not having the basic necessities of food, shelter, clothing etc is terrible. And it is obvious how that would affect all facets of your health. Having more money definitely increases happiness and wellness in this case. Studies worldwide have shown that happiness increases with money up to about $75,000.00 a year. This is the tipping point as more money does not necessarily make a person happier. Although, they may view themselves as successful or better.
I know some of you out there are saying “that’s rubbish, I’m sure I can be happier with more!” That may be but this study basically says that once you reach this threshold and your basic needs are taken care of. Any additional money does not have the same benefit on your wellness and happiness as the other factors in your life. We have to remember that this does not all happen in a bubble. There are many other aspects to life. We now come to the time versus money conundrum.
Time versus Money
This brings us to how we go about making money to live the life that we want. It is generally possible to make enough money to meet our basic needs. The problem comes when we need to make money to meet our wants. Here we come to time versus money. Basically, in order to make more money, we will have to spend more time and energy in its pursuit. This is where our happiness and wellness start to suffer. Our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs start to take a backseat to our quest for financial rewards.More time at work means less time with family and less free time. In making more money we lose time with family and friends. So, we try to make up for this with buying material possessions. The downward spiral begins. We can have the Financial pillar working very well but it cannot support the entire system. The other pillars are weakened and so too our overall wellness. What can we do to keep balance?
Brave New World
The time of the Rat Race is coming to an end. I grew up in a time when it was expected you would go to school. You would have to do well in order to get a good job to support your family. You did your job whether you liked it or not. Salary was the great decider. You were supposed to be a loyal and hard worker so you could retire and finally relax. All the hamsters running in the same wheel.
But no system lasts forever. The world is changing. In fact, it’s always been changing but everyone was so comfortable that we tried to stay in our comfort zone. Disruption is the order of the day. Fear abounds. But for me I see opportunity. Technology has made it possible for “work” to not be work. More and more people are becoming entrepreneurs and working from home. Many are doing what they love or have a passion for, and making money.
This latest disruption in the form of a pandemic has forced many businesses people to reassess their lives. Change is happening whether we are ready or not. But in there is an unexpected bonus. Working from home has given us more family time and forced us to be more productive. We can almost have our cake and eat it too. We will adapt and see where it goes.
A lot of the time, our quest for financial success comes at a cost. It comes at the expense of our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional wellness. Our family lives suffered as well. Things are changing now. More and more people are out of work. They are realizing that they do not want to be dependent on others for their livelihoods. There are many online options and training available. Now may be the time to take your future into your own hands. It’s not going to be easy. But nothing worthwhile ever comes easily.
Financial wellness need not be acquired at the expense of your overall wellness. A holistic approach to wellness including exercise and meditation will help us to feel better about ourselves. Acceptance and gratitude for what we have will help us to a less materialistic approach to life. And this will all bring our wants more in line with our needs. We can learn to get by with less materially so easing up our financial stress. And hopefully lead to a happier healthier you, and those around you.